Hiking Slovenia: away from the crowds near Radovljica
Radovljica – just try pronouncing that in one go without problems! I did not succeed, unfortunately, but I believe it I have been forgiven. That you can make some incredible hikes in Slovenia should not be a surprise to most of you. It is a true paradise for hiking fans like me, but sometimes it can be a bit tricky to find a place that hardly anyone knows. In this blog I take you with me on my journey to Radovljica and surroundings, where I have not seen one single tourist. Although you are only a few kilometers away from the busy Lake Bled, it is still relatively raw and undiscovered. Herewith I share my tips for your visit and and best hiking trails near Radovljica.
Hiking to St. Peters Church
It is still early in the morning when my flight from Amsterdam lands in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Not much later I am in the small village of Begunje na Gorenjskem from where I will make a nice hike. Begunje na Gorenjskem is located near Radovljica and is a true paradise for hikers. The morning sun shines in my face and while I tie my shoelaces, my phone goes rings. It’s a message from my boyfriend: whether I have already arrived? I send back a smiling picture of myself: not only am I already there, but I am about to go hiking within minutes. Not bad after I left Schiphol Airport at 06.35, just a few hours earlier.
My time in Begunje is limited and so I choose what according to the walking map is an ‘easy climb to the St. Peters Church’. The ‘Petrova pot’ is marked with a key and in good spirits I start my journey up. It strikes me that it is quiet in the village, although it’s not surprising because it is still early and a weekday in September. On the trail that leads me up to the church I run into a few people only. Every time a Slovenian, never a tourist.
After half an hour of steady climbing I reach the top of the hill and I have arrived at Sv. Peter. I got the suggestions to see if the owner is there so that I can ask him to open the church for me. I’m lucky and run into him in his yard. He lets me in and I’m pleasantly surprised by the beautiful murals inside the church. He also tells me about his life at sea and how he ended up here. If you are ever in the area, do the effort and make this walk, you will definitely not be disappointed!
I continue my hike and reach some special viewpoints. Unfortunately it is cloudy over the Julian Alps, so I can’t see the highest mountain of Slovenia (Triglav), but fortunately I have a few chances left for the next days. I descend down again on a steep trail and continue my way to Grad Kamen, an old fortress. Even now I don’t meet anyone and I feel completely alone on the trail. Occasionally I have to cross a scree slope and then I reach the castle ruins. After a short stop and taking some pictures, it’s time to move on.
I grab lunch at Gostišče Draga, a traditional Slovenian restaurant at the end of the valley and this walking route. Lunch is the most important meal of the day in Slovenia and consists of three courses. I’m not used to eating three courses at noon, but to be honest, it goes in without problems after that walk and waking up early. From here the hike continues into the mountains, but unfortunately I have to go back to the car and to Begunje for my next destination: Radovljica.
Also read: why Slovenia in the fall is a great idea!
A city walk through historical Radovljica
I spend my afternoon in Radovljica. This medieval town is a stone’s throw away from famous Lake Bled, but fortunately you will hardly find tourists here. I wander around the old town square with its terraces, see the old buildings and walk to the old city wall. From here I have a beautiful view of the Julian Alps again and in the distance I see the first really high peaks appear. Below me the train passes and I enjoy the warmth and the sun on my skin.
To stop or not to stop at Lake Bled
Lake Bled is the major tourist attraction in Slovenia and unfortunately this causes over-tourism. Locals tell me that in the summer they can hardly deal with the crowds around Lake Bled and that they find it particularly unfortunate that it is only used as a stopover during your a European road trip for many. So I doubt whether I will make a stop on the shores of the lake because after such a relaxed morning in the mountains, I do not want to be see huge crowds of people. Yet I decide, in a somewhat quieter place, to get out of the car and take a picture. Just so I can say I have been there and seen it.
Overnigting on the Pokljuka plateau
After a quick picture stop, I get back in the car for the drive to the Pokljuka plateau – high in the mountains where I will stay the next few nights. I have a apartment in Goreljek, a handful of houses deep in the forest. I am overwhelmed by peace and quiet when I arrive at apartment. Along the way I saw signs with walking trails everywhere and I can not wait to hit the trail in this special area tomorrow. More about that in my next blog!
Conclusion & disclaimer
My first impressions of with Slovenia are very good. Quietness, space, empty hiking trails and breathtaking nature were the main highlights of this first day of my trip. I made this trip at the invitation of My Slovenia. This blog contains affiliate links. If you book something through this link, I may receive a small commission, without extra costs for you.